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Access governance: yes or no

(Image credit: Image Credit: NakoPhotography / Shutterstock)

There are a variety of solutions designed to assist with access governance issues, but organizational leaders often find it difficult completely understand which technology they need to meet the needs of their IT teams and their processes. Obviously, every organization’s needs are different so the solution they’ll need to help them through will vary as well.

However, where to start? What they must determine is the appropriate course of action for moving their teams forward, solving problems and redundancies and getting their teams to optimal performance.

“Optimal performance” is the keystone for every leader; all organization success leads to this and every decision every day should bring us to the questions that lead us to potential solutions for optimal performance.

Leaders must first examine some of their major challenges, perhaps the following questions might help you parse some of the details that might help you examine if there are ways to automate processes or improve business operations.    

How many applications do users use each day and what are their password policies?

If your employees are logging into four or more applications each day then they are likely experiencing a number of access management issues, translating into roadblocks that cause breakdowns in performance and efficiency. Even something as simple as password management. or lack thereof, can be a tremendously difficult issue for employees to manage. This is especially true of employees who engage with customers; anything that interferes with the customer service process can be an issue.

While security is an essential and organizations continue to be attached by bad actors, these processes don’t necessarily need to necessitate a slowdown in operations. Ask yourself the following questions; Does your organization have a password policy in place for each of the applications that employees log into? Does this policy require complex passwords for each set of credentials?

If you answered yes, the added security is nice, but you might be hindering the security of the company’s network. Too many passwords and too many protocols means you’re miring people down, or even creating a security flaw, because you’re requiring your teams to use a plethora of credentials. Contemplate for a moment what you do when you try to remember all of your passwords. There’s a good chance you’ll either write them down, store them in an unprotected Excel sheet, or you are constantly resetting them. These are all major security issues.   

How many calls does your helpdesk receive, and why?

Next, examine the size of your helpdesk staff and how many calls it receives. Do you have dedicated helpdesk employees? Are there certain issues that they are a specialist in addressing or are they jacks-of-all trades? What are the most common issue they face; probably password resets. While this specific issues is easy issue to fix, if your team receives a god deal of these requests then you should resolve this issue.

How much time is spent on managing user accounts?

When a newly hired employee is hired at your organization, the first thing that they’ll need is access to the required systems and applications, most of which are probably from a variety of different systems and software solutions. If this account creation process is manual, your team has its work cut out for it. Have you ever calculated the costs or the amount of time they spend doing so? How many employees need to take on this task? If you haven’t looked into this level of data, you’ll likely be surprised by the outcome. But it doesn’t stop there. There’s the back end that needs to be managed, when an employee leaves the organization. These people’s access needs to revoked, accounts suspected and rights removed. Are you even addressing this problem? If so, is it a manual process? 

Is there any waste that can be eliminated?

One major source of budget waste is for accounts in the network that are no longer active. You may find that you’ll pay for licenses to different systems and applications for their employees. If no one is monitoring these licenses, they are often infrequently used, if at all. You’ll be tossing your money aside if this is the case.

The solution? Automate. As a change is made in the authoritative system, it is reflected in the connected systems. A system admin adds a person who needs access to the source system and accounts are automatically generated.

Doing so allows for quick-fire changes to accounts or the ability to easily disable accounts that need to be done away with. Easy solution: IT managers and admins makes any needed changes in the source system, which is then automatically reflected in all connected systems. The result is additional security. Someone no longer working for the organization cannot access any of the applications or company data.

Many access governance solutions allow for an overview of accounts, access rights and usage. This allows the organization to not only see exactly who has access to what, but what applications are being used to license counts. The organization can quickly see if they are paying for too many licenses and if the application is even being used.

Overwhelmed helpdesks managing passwords might benefit greatly from automated self-service reset solutions. Users can then manage their own passwords; no need to contact the helpdesk. The reduction in IT helpdesk calls is obvious; no more bottleneck. Also, to reduce the need for password resets and copious management is single sign-on that improves the end user experience. Fewer passwords to create and manage by users means more efficiency and better security (fewer passwords means fewer passwords to recall).

Access governance handles a host of issues related to access rights and system governance and when implemented correctly can lead to an increase in organizational efficiency and enhanced security.   

Image Credit: NakoPhotography / Shutterstock